Wednesday, February 16, 2011


My profile mentions I often enjoy iced tea lemonade on the lanai, though at times its just old-fashioned lemonade or fruit juices. Last time I mixed a batch, I decided the preparation might make an interesting blog post. At least, the tart lemons, lime, and blood oranges would present a colorful picture story.

Prior to the squeezing process, I set the individual fruit on the table for about an hour for it to reach room temperature, then roll each lemon and lime across the table to “loosen” the juice inside. Of course, I use a manual hand-squeezer. If you have one of those electric juicers (lucky you) then you can probably skip this step.

Oranges are usually soft enough already and I don’t roll them, just slice them in half and squeeze. The first time I cut open a blood orange and saw the deep red color of its pulp, I almost dropped it!

In my hometown cookbook, I found an old recipe from 1951 that suggests combining 3 ¼ cups of cold water with ½ cup of lemon juice, then sugar to taste. Everyone has their own preferences and a nice variation on regular sugar is honey, or even ginger ale for a fizzy drink.

Whatever method you use to make your lemonade, just remember: If life gives you lemons, smile because you can use that pent-up energy to create something of value. I convert my stress (usually computer related) into character conflict that drives the next scene of my novel.

When life gives you lemons, what is your strategy for relieving tension?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


The United States Army Nurse Corps was established by law in 1901. With no draft for nurses, this law directed the U.S. Surgeon General to maintain a reserve list of nurses qualified to serve in times of national emergency.

In 1940, the U.S. Army had less than one thousand regular army nurses on active duty. With the threat of global war, nurses on the reserve list were called up to serve a one-year tour of duty. They worked in evacuation hospitals, in places such as Sicily, where they handled an average of 100 new casualties a day.

AND IF I PERISH by Evelyn M. Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee portrays the work of frontline army nurses during World War II. This book influenced my choice of background for protagonist Pepper Bibeau in the novel For Every Action.

Unlike the frontline nurses of WWII, however, Pepper is portrayed as a former army nurse who had served during the Vietnam Conflict. Pepper’s experiences are an amalgam of all nurses who served in times of war, and are meant to honor the nurses who served in U.S. wars from World War II through Desert Storm and beyond.